For your Wrist
Samsung has begun working hand in hand with Google on a new operating system and user experience for their wearables. This means that in 2021 we are seeing new software and hardware paired together for two new smart watches.
The Galaxy Watch 4 comes in two variants 40mm and 44mm and carries a minimalistic look and feel. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic continues the tradition of a rotating bezel for another level of navigation and comes in a large 42mm and 46mm variant.
From 25.9 grams the range is far lighter than an Apple Watch and has a higher resolution screen too. Battery life is now extending to 40 hours while a full charge can be had in two hours.
Inside the small frame is a 3-in-1 sensor which measures your heart rate, can complete an ECG and has an impedance analysis sensor. The health tech is now advanced enough to provide body composition analysis including your muscle and fat mass, BMI, body water percentages and more. Samsung says it takes 15 seconds to collect 2400 data points with 98% accuracy so you can skip the fancy scales in the gym.
Speaking of exercise, Samsung Health now supports 120 home workouts and 90 fitness tracking modes. If workouts from home are your thing then the watch can integrate to your Samsung TV to show live tracking of your calories burned and heart rate. Once in bed the Watch doesn’t rest, it works to monitor snore detection and bloody oxygen levels to help you analyse your sleep beyond just time in bed.
Both have eSim capability for standalone use or bluetooth for a connection to any smartphone, even the fruity kind. The range will be available with a range of colors and band options from $399.
For your Ears
Samsung have introduced the Galaxy Buds 2 as what they are calling their entry level earphones. Available in a lavender, green, white or black option the differences to typical white earbuds don’t seem to stop there.
Each bud contains two way speakers with a dedicated woofer and tweeter to cover a full range of sound. Your music will be easily heard thanks to active noise cancellation while three levels of ambient sound can be permitted should you need to hear your surroundings. Samsung says the Buds 2 uses machine learning to assist when it comes to voice calls with 3 microphones working together to capture what you’re saying and not the traffic or dog barking.
With 5 hours of continuous use and 20 hours total with the case helping recharge it should easily see you through the longest of days. All of this in mind, it is still lightweight with the Buds 2 weighing 5 grams or 41.2 with the case, all for $219. This makes them lighter than the AirPods Pro, in your pocket and towards your wallet.
For your Future
Last but certainly not least is the main focus of the event. If the future is for foldable phones then Samsung is not holding back on options. Garry McGregor, Vice President of Samsung Australia made it clear, asking “is it fold or old?” as the foldable category is expected to grow three fold over prior year in 2021.
Improving on previous generations, the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and Galaxy Z Flip3 5G pack some innovations we don’t see on any smartphones in the world. While the new models are slimmer, lighter and more durable than the past, the new features are what you need to see, or not see.
The Z Fold3 5G is like a small tablet that can fold to fit into your pocket like a regular smartphone. A 6.2 inch screen on the front or a 7.6inch display on the inside, when opened, leaves you with a choice of real estate for any task. With the processing power of a computer to enable multiple apps to run on the screen at one time you could be scrolling Twitter while watching your favourite show at the same time.
Now compatible with a stylus known as the S Pen, note taking has rendered the pen and paper obsolete forever while a selfie is always within reach thanks to a total of five cameras surrounding the device. The one on the inside is most impressive as it is completely invisible.
A first for Samsung is the under display camera which doesn't leave a notch or punchole in the screen and will shake the Apple tree for innovation in the future. Now with IPX8 water resistance and tough Gorilla Glass your device should survive mishaps and accidents. While still being very expensive at $2499 it is fortunately $700 cheaper than last year.
The Z Flip 3 5G starts at a smartphone size and folds like a makeup mirror. Carrying a 6.7 inch display and in a range of colours including cream, green, black and lavender this model is fashion meets function. While carrying the benefits of being more durable, lighter and faster than the previous model it has also added a larger 1.9inch display to the outside of the device for use when folded shut. This allows you to scroll through notifications, take quick actions or be used as a screen when taking a selfie, all without opening the device. Like anything fashion focused the Z Flip3 5G will start from $1499, a tough pill to swallow, but one that is $500 less than last year's model.
What we saw from Samsung today was a display in how their strategy is defining an entire ecosystem of products that work well together or independently. While some products may be out of reach for some budgets, the message is clear; innovation is still alive and well in the technology sector and more people are starting to notice.
Geoff Quattromani is a tech commentator across radio, print, online and television. Check out his podcast “Technology Uncorked” for new information each week.